Last Sunday my family and I had the opportunity to march in San Francisco’s Pride Parade with members and supporters of the university’s LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) Caucus. It was a beautiful summer day in San Francisco, which means, I am finding out as a new resident, it was sunny and about 70 degrees on Market Street in the city.
There were over 200 participants in our group, which included faculty, staff, and students; young and old(er); and members of the LGBT community and those who are supporters of it. Everyone appeared to be having a wonderful time, and it was great to see all the enthusiastic supporters of the university along the parade route. San Francisco has long been known as being welcoming to the LGBTQ community, and this was demonstrated throughout the entire parade route.
The Washington Post asked me to write a commentary in response to yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, in which the court upheld the university’s use of race-based affirmative action. This was a historic decision for the Supreme Court, and an important one for higher education institutions across the country. As someone who has done research over the last two decades on college access and success for underrepresented students, I was extremely pleased to see the court affirm the importance of allowing colleges and universities to use the tools they need to create a diverse class of students.
In 2014 the White House launched a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign to help combat sexual assault at the nation’s colleges and universities. Titled “It’s On Us,” the campaign uses celebrities to help raise awareness about the problem – what some are calling an epidemic – of sexual assault and rape in higher education.
This issue has received much attention from policymakers as well as the media over the last few years. The U.S. Department of Education, through its enforcement of Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1965, has stepped up its oversight of how colleges adjudicate reports of sexual harassment and assault. The recent case of Brock Turner, a Stanford University student athlete convicted of sexually assaulting a woman while she was unconscious – and who received only a 6-month prison sentence for the act – has brought the issue to the forefront of the news once again.